NEUROADAPTIVE THERAPY: Training The Visual Brain

In 2004, my colleagues and I wrote a paper adopted by the American Optometric Association entitled Vision: A Collaboration of Eyes and Brain.  We concluded the following:

1)  Information from neuroimaging and insights from cognitive neuroscience demand a significant reformulation of the understanding of vision.

2) Vision occurs neither in the eyes nor in the brain, but emerges from the collaboration of the eyes and the rest of the brain.

3) Vision is a pervasive aspect of our existence which permeates all of our activities.

4) Vision develops and, due to neural plasticity, can be enhanced.

These principles were based on what we observed in practice and in keeping abreast of  a new wave of neuro-adaptive therapies.  In the mid 1990s, I was approached by the company Neurovision which was based in Israel to try their vision therapy program for amblyopia.  The program was based on the use of Gabor patches, ubiquitous in vision science research.

Neurovision’s therapy program involved making a series of judgments about the orientation and positioning of these Gabor patches.  The concept was good, but the training paradigm was tedious for most patients.

The use of computerized  office and home therapy programs is not new, by any means.  In Optometry one company (Vision Therapy Solutions) has dominated the field, and there are interactive programs for perceptual learning and amblyopia, just to name a few.

After a lukewarm reception for amblyopia, presbyopia, and post-LASIK residual myopia therapy, Neurovision has been revitalized as Revitalvision for multifocal IOL patients.

In my next post we’ll take a look at how well-suited neuroadaptive therapy is for teaching old visual brains new visual tricks, specifically related to multifocal IOLs.

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